Serbia’s Progressive Party pledged to form a new government by May 1 after winning an outright parliamentary majority in an election on a pledge to fight graft, fix the economy and join the European Union by 2020. The party, led by Aleksandar Vucic, who forced the ballot two years earlier than scheduled, won 48.3 percent, more than polls predicted, Serbia’s Election Commission said today. Vucic will get 158 of the chamber’s 250 seats, while Prime Minister Ivica Dacic’s Socialist Party received 13.5 percent, for 44 seats, according to preliminary results. Vucic said he will consult with President Tomislav Nikolic and three other parties that made it into parliament. Vucic, who was once an ally of late Balkan strongman Slobodan Milosevic, pledged to embrace painful austerity measures endorsed by the International Monetary Fund and lead Serbia into the EU two decades after the bloody Balkan civil wars. He said he will “extend a hand” to other parties before forming his administration.
Serbia’s coalition government asked President Tomislav Nikolic on Tuesday to call an early election with the dominant center-right SNS party looking to accelerate reforms by cashing in on a surge in its popularity. Nikolic was expected on Wednesday to schedule the parliamentary election for March 16, just under two years since the people of the western Balkan state last voted. The SNS (Serbian Progressive Party), the strongest party in the ruling alliance, is well ahead in opinion polls, putting party leader Aleksandar Vucic in pole position to take over from Socialist Prime Minister Ivica Dacic. Once an ultranationalist disciple of the “Greater Serbia” ideology that fuelled the wars of federal Yugoslavia’s bloody disintegration in the 1990s, Vucic has since rebranded himself as a pro-European modernizer. As deputy prime minister, Vucic has advocated a painful overhaul of Serbia’s bloated public sector, the pension system and rigid labor market.
Serbia’s ruling center-right populist party said Saturday it wants to hold early parliamentary elections to push for economic reforms and cement its grip on power in the economically-troubled Balkan country. The leader of the Serbian Progressive Party and deputy prime minister, Aleksandar Vucic, told the party gathering he wants to “test the will of the people” in the polls that are likely to be held in March. The former pro-Russian ultranationalists turned pro-European Union reformers are by far the most popular party in Serbia. Vucic hopes the early vote will give him a mandate to become the prime minister and rule without the support of the Socialists, whose leader, Ivica Dacic, is the current premier.
Masked men storming polling stations during Kosovo’s local elections, on November 3rd, was the image that captured the interest of the international media. But as Petrit Selimi, the country’s deputy foreign minister, says, events in three polling stations “don’t make an election, they make good visuals for TV.” The polling stations, in the divided city of Mitrovica, were important, but Mr Selimi has a point. Overall, Kosovo’s poll was remarkable for being so smooth and uneventful. Kosovo’s general election, in 2010, was tainted by accusations of “industrial-scale” fraud. This time no one has made any significant complaints. The turnout was also far higher than for local elections in most of the rest of Europe.
Violence that forced voting stations to close early on Sunday in the Serbian-dominated city of north Mitrovica and led to the destruction of ballots is likely to prompt Kosovo authorities to order a rerun of elections there, officials said on Monday. While violence was a blow to European Union-brokered peace efforts between Serbia and Kosovo, regional and European officials stressed that elections went smoothly in the rest of the country and there was significant turnout of ethnic Serbs in southern Kosovo, where ethnic Albanians dominate. On Tuesday, the EU’s election mission will issue its preliminary verdict on the conduct of Sunday’s elections. Decisions on whether and how to boost security in the north in coming weeks are still being considered, officials said.
Serbia: Cliffhangers – The outcomes of Serbia’s many elections on May 6th are unpredictable | The Economist
On May 6th the French vote for a president and the Greeks and Armenians for parliaments. For Serbs it is the big bang: they will vote for a president, a parliament, in local elections and, in the province of Vojvodina, for a regional assembly. In Kosovo too, many Serbs may vote, but this is contentious and could lead to violence. Kosovo aside, the Serbian elections are a cliffhanger. Polls give President Boris Tadic of the Democratic Party (DS) just under 36% and Tomislav Nikolic, leader of the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), just over 36%. A run-off between the two a fortnight later is likely, and the result will be influenced by the parliamentary election. Mr Tadic sells himself as pro-European and pro-reform. But he looks tired and the economy is in dire straits. One poll finds 80% of Serbs are dissatisfied and angry, 77% feel helpless and hopeless and 60% are just depressed. The latest score for the SNS and its allies is 33.5%, with the DS and its allies trailing on 28.3%. Yet it may be easier for the DS than for the SNS to find other coalition partners.
President of the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) Ivica Dacic said Saturday that he expects new elections in Serbia to be held in March the following year. He expects the SPS to do well at the elections, and possibly better than others.
At a meeting of the SPS Belgrade about new elections, held in the Serbian capital on Saturday, Dacic said the SPS would certainly not run in the elections to come third. He added that the latest attacks on the SPS in which the party had once again been associated with the family Slobodan Milosevic would not reduce the party’s rating.